By Jeff Gallatin
City administration officials believe a 2011 repeat will help the 2012 streets program go smoothly with a long-term goal of a bigger change in funding projects.
City officials went over the administration’s street recommendations for 2012, with the city planning to borrow $500,000, or about half of the projected $1,001,985 cost.
“We’re borrowing half of it again,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy said after the meeting. “That’s better than it used to be, but our ultimate goal is still to get in the position where we’re not borrowing any of the funds to pay for these kind of street projects.”
For many years, the city borrowed the entire amount for its annual street projects list. However, Kennedy has made it one of the major goals of his administration to not do that as part of an overall goal to reduce the city’s fiscal indebtedness.
“We’re going to continue to work towards getting that done at some point,” Kennedy said. “It will help us more if we’re not having to pay large amounts of interest for this kind of work.”
Council officials were pleased with the program.
Finance Committee Chairman Paul Barker said the city has progressed in how it’s handled the street program.
“Since a previous administration (former Mayor Thomas O’Grady) instituted the rating program for streets five or six years ago it has worked really well for the city,” Barker said. “It takes the politics out of the process and gives us something solid to work with in getting the work done. It makes it a lot easier for the city, and I’ll note that the actual number rankings are coming down and we are making some progress.”
Barker also lauded Kennedy’s work at reducing the debt.
“When you keep borrowing a million dollars a year, it’s going to hurt you,” he said. “You look around and see some other cities are having trouble financially, and I think it’s good that Mayor Kennedy is not borrowing as much and is working on keeping us out of trouble with some good fiscal policies.”
Streets Committee Chairman Lou Brossard said as chairman of the panel his duty is to balance the needs of his ward (Ward 1) with the needs of the entire city.
“It’s important to remember that streets deteriorate at different rates due to a variety of factors and conditions,” he said. “And what you see on the surface is not always indicative of the true condition of a particular street.”
Brossard said city workers did good work with the proposed list.
“After personally touring the streets, I would agree with the list that the engineering, service and planning departments have put together,” he said. “Their primary goal is to get the best bang for the buck of the approximately $1 million budgeted for 2012 streets rehab.”
Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski asked to review several streets with Engineer Pete DeFranco, saying he thought they were in worse shape than their ratings. DeFranco said he would go over them with the councilman.
Noting that the list could change before actual work begins, administration officials said the proposed streets slated for repair are Aspen Drive, $78,900; Holly Drive, $84,000; Spruce Drive, $78,900; Clareshire Drive, $40,500; Woodside Drive, $97,900; Deepwoods Way, $62,920; Sawmill Circle, $21,780; Berkshire Drive(Lorain-Tudor), $59,125; Berkshire Drive, (Tudor-Devon), $147,400; Bailey Road, $65,920; Fleharty Road, $78,720; and West Park Drive, $185,920.